Woodring College of Education seeks to enrich international involvement and awareness throughout its programs. In striving to reach this goal we are currently examining the ways in which internationalization is organically evolving in our college, and how to synergistically enhance our overall commitment to internationalization.
During these beginning stages of exploration we are committed to grounding our internationalizing approaches with concepts of diversity, social justice, and sustainability as a critical part of international civic engagement. It is our intention to include our collective strengths and to examine areas for growth. To this end, we will continue to bring multiple views to the table and to identify the synergy among us.
Early Childhood Education Partnership with Southwest University in Chongqing, China
Years One and Two:
In December 2015 and 2016, WWU Early Childhood Education (ECE) faculty offered lectures and discussions at Southwest University (SWU, Chongqing, China) for Masters and BA level SWU-ECE students and visited local kindergartens for children ages 3 to 6 years for about two weeks in December of each year (between quarters).
Year Three: Global Exchange Program began
Summer 2017: SWU sent a group of 20 participants, including SWU ECE students, working kindergarten teachers, and two SWU ECE faculty for professional development at the WWU ECE program and a variety of local preschools.
Exploring US Preschools and Kindergartens:
What supports young children’s inquiry and learning?
Program Goals: Participants exchanged ideas on:
- Integrating the creative arts into early childhood education
- Observing and documenting children’s thinking and understanding
- Exploring approaches for developing young children’s thinking and understanding
- Playful learning which considers the social, cultural and emotional development of young children and
- Engaging a diversity of U.S. families and communities by using culturally relevant practices.
December 2017: WWU sent a group of seven students, two preschool teachers, and two ECE faculty to SWU to offer five lectures and visit a diverse group of SW China regional kindergartens.
The partnership was especially impactful because two of the WWU-ECE students who went to Chongqing in December 2017 acted as ‘cultural ambassadors’ the preceding summer for the SWU group. Their visit to China was a reunion with the students, teachers and faculty they had supported in the summer of 2017. A third student presented her internship project with preschool children in the summer program at WWU and was then able to visit with our WWU group the Chonqing kindergartens she heard about from the Chinese teachers the summer before.
This non-credit global exchange builds on students’ coursework in the ECE professional teacher preparation program (birth through grade 3 focus).
TESOL Partnership with National Taiwanese Normal University
Woodring College of Education is happy to be partnered with National Taiwanese Normal University to train TESOL teachers!
As part of the program, English teachers from rural Taiwanese elementary and middle schools receive ministry of education scholarships to come to WWU for a five week teaching course in the summer. In 2018, Woodring welcomed 19 teachers from Taiwan. The guests participated in TESOL classes as well as specialized workshops and activities, and explored the Bellingham area on group field trips. They also collaborated with TESOL students to create online lessons for the Cloud Project, an online teaching partnership.
WWU TESOL students and graduates, along with some local elementary school teachers are also working with NTNU more directly. A group visited the Taiwanese university and helped teach English over the spring and summer. Two TESOL students—Betsy Brier and Steven Bader — actually stayed on at their partner schools to complete practicum experiences. In fall 2018, the WWU contingent (8 TESOL students/graduates and 2 local elementary teachers) taught weekly Cloud Project English lessons via online conferencing tools in the classrooms of their Taiwanese partners. Finally, over winter break they traveled to Taiwan again to visit their classrooms and participate in a teaching conference at which the Taiwanese partners presented their 'teacher research' findings from their experience with Western.
We are very excited about this program as it continues to develop and are grateful to all the staff, faculty, and students on both sides of this partnership.